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Saturday, March 14, 2015

In stark contrast to armchair Communists in the West,

people who have to live under Communism know only too well its daily abuses of power. Their rage, then, is very understandable. With that in mind, I bring to your attention the biggest underground rap song in Vietnam right now. The rapper is Nah (real name Nguyễn Vũ Sơn) and he was born in Saigon on January 1st, 1991. After releasing one official CD and even appearing on television in Saigon, Nah studied economics in Singapore and, in late 2013, arrived in Oklahoma to continue his education. Though still a citizen of Vietnam, his experiences of different cultures and being away from the terror of the Vietnamese secret police have unleashed his full creativity and politics. In an interview, Nah spoke of being instructed and inspired by the American Civil Rights Movement and Woman Suffrage Movement. Historically oblivious, Western armchair Communists don't just brush away show trials and gulags but the fact that citizens of Communist countries don't vote for any of their national leaders. (Yes, Americans only do so as a charade, a point I've made often, but that's another story!) The second video was made in Saigon and features Nah with two other Saigon rappers, Thái Việt and Wowy.

American racists can think of Vietnam only as the Vietnam War, because everything must revolve around the United States of America, and, further, many simply ignore that Communism is but a blip in the more than 2,000 years of recorded Vietnamese history. Even more racist, some Westerners still insist that this barbaric Western system should be adopted universally. (It's always some Western system that must be adopted universally.) As for those who point out that the current regimes of North Korea, China and Vietnam are not authentically Communist, well of course not, but that transformation was inevitable. A one-party totalitarian state must lead to a bunch of murderous pigs at the very top. Orwell laid out this trajectory in Animal Farm. China's and Vietnam's recent revivals are due to the native skills and virtues of their respective people, and coincided exactly with each Communist Party's relaxation of its strangle hold. The murderous pigs are still on top, however, and they're richer than ever. To do business on any level in Vietnam, you don't pay taxes so much as bribes.











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About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.